Saturday, 30 April 2011

Sunny Family Chocolate Cake

1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 cup self-raising flour
2/3 cup plain flour
1/2 tspn bicarb soda
125g butter, softened
1 1/4 cups castor sugar
3 eggs
1 tspn vanilla essence
1/2 cup milk

2 cups icing mixture
3/4 cup cocoa
50g butter, softened
1 tspn vanilla essence
50-100ml boiling water

  1. To make batter sift dry ingredients into a bowl.  Add all remaining ingredients.
  2. Mix with electric beaters on low speed until combined.  Increase speed to high and beat for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Spread mixture into a greased and lined 20cm round cake pan.  Cook in a pre-heated 160'C oven for 60-70 minutes, or until skewer inserted into centre comes out cleanly.
  4. Leave in pan to cool for 10 minutes before turning onto cooling rack. 
  5. To make icing sift dry ingredients into bowl.  Add butter and vanilla, then slowly drizzle in boiling water, mixing well after each addition, until icing is smooth consistency.  Icing can be make as runny as you like by adding more boiling water.
  6. When cake is cool, cover with icing.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Hormones and follicles and scans, Oh my!

So I might be jumping the gun being excited about this, BUT we got some pretty exciting news this morning...
After seven months of wondering whether my ovaries would ever do what we wanted them to and pop a darn egg, my scan this morning showed that the medications have worked enough to produce follicles.  This doesn't sound like much, but a follicle is a pretty big step towards an egg, cos this is where your eggs come from.
Being a self-confessed dummy when it comes to all of this junk, I did a bit more research and thought you might find these pictures interesting.

So basically, PCOS is the commonest cause of ovulation disorders in women of reproductive age and is a familial condition. PCOS is a primary ovarian condition and is characterized by the presence of many minute cysts in the ovaries and excess production of androgens. PCOS can be found in apparently normal women and the full expression of the disease so-called “Stein-leventhal syndrome” is very uncommon. PCOS is frequently associated with weight gain, excessive hair growth in the face and body, irregular and infrequent periods or absent periods, infrequent or absent ovulation, miscarriage and infertility. The cause of PCOS is not fully understood. There are long-term risks of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer of the womb. Women diagnosed as having PCOS before pregnancy have an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes.

This is what my ovaries look like on ultrasound scan (before I started medication).

All those dark circles are cysts, they stop the production of regular follicle and egg development.

And now, due to the wonders of a fantastic fertility medication which I've been on for two cycles, my ovaries (well, the right one at least) looks like this!

The dark circles are now developing follicles, and that nice big fat one up top is due to ovulate and bring us our first egg in seven months!

You may be wondering what medication I'm on, and at the moment that's not something I'll talk about in specifics.  Mostly because we don't definitely know it's worked through to conception, and also because what works for me might not work for you!  I can tell you that the two cycles have changed my body almost completely!  I have gained about 3.5kg, I constantly feel water-logged, my hair colour and texture have changed (I was a definite ash blonde, I'm now mousy reddy-brown), I have developed adult acne and I've had some absolutely awesome hot flushes which lead to some super mood swings.
BUT like I said, you might already be on the same meds and not feel this way, so to each their own!

So, it's still VERY early days, but inside I'm getting excited about the idea that things may be changing for the good!  I've just got to keep up my cycle charts, watch my temperatures and pray that in the next four days my little follicle pops a little egg!

Wish us luck! Sunny xx

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Key Lime Pie

200g plain sweet biscuits
100g unsalted butter, melted
Whipped cream and shredded lime peel to decorate
Lime Filling 
4 eggs, lightly beaten
395g can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup cooking cream
2 tsps finely ground lime rind
1/2 cup lime juice
  1. Using a round 20cm spring form pan, invert and grease and line base and sides with paper
  2. Finely crush biscuits.  Add melted butter and mix until combined.  Press over base and up sides of pan.  Put in fridge to cool and set.
  3. To make the filling, combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer until smooth.  Pour into prepared pan.  Place pan onto oven tray.
  4. Cook in a moderate oven (180'C) four about 45 minutes or until just set in the middle.
  5. Remove from over, allow to cool in pan before attempting to lift out.  Decorate with whipped cream and shredded lime peel.

Small mercies

It's sometimes hard, but always worth the effort trying to be grateful for small mercies.  Today has been one of those days.
I woke super early, after not actually getting into bed until about 1.30am, only to think I was either late for work or had missed my doctors appointment (which isn't until Thursday).  So, not being able to get to sleep when my brain finally clicked that it was in fact Tuesday and only 7am, I decided to kill some time.  I made a coffee, played with The Boo (our cat), put on a load of washing AND made a Key Lime Pie.  And all before 11am!  I was impressed!
Then, our washing machine stopped pumping out water at the end of a full load and so I had to hand wring our uniforms to hang them on the line.  Yes, I was a little cross, BUT it was such a beautiful day this morning and I hadn't been outside the house yet to see it!  
Then, the rain clouds came over, BUT it meant that I got to stay indoors, snuggled on the couch with my beloved husband and The Boo, watching old DVDs.  I even put my PJ's back on at 3.30pm!
And now, I'm sitting at my computer feeling delighted that I already have three 'likers' for my facebook page.  Awesome!
So, on days that can sometime feel like a never-ending stream of bad news, broken appliances and rainy weather, small mercies can turn the whole thing around.  It's all about perspective, I guess...

Monday, 25 April 2011

Waiting for something beautiful

So the reason I started this blog today is because it's been a day of reflection for me and hubby.  Today we found out that round two of medications hasn't yet kick-started my ovaries like the doctor thought it would. And so we're back to waiting and trying higher doses and saying more prayers.  
I think being the age I am, having a doctor tell us that the method he thought would be successful isn't working, is a bit of a kick in the gutts.  I'm not saying it's the worst news we've had and it's not something we can't get over, but it's hard to hear nonetheless.
I must admit I'm pretty darn clueless when it comes to fertility and women's health issues in general.  We didn't even know I had PCOS until we couldn't get pregnant.  So this is very much a surprise and a lesson for us day to day. In the last seven months I have learned how to count days, keep charts of temperatures, predict ovulation dates and manage symptoms.  That in itself is a pretty major lesson!  
In the last three months I've discovered what fertility drugs are used for certain conditions, which medications we'll be on and for how long, and what happens if they don't work.  I've physically felt a wonderful range of normal, great, bloated, crampy, moody and some days like my body is not my own.  Emotionally is about the same.  We have really positive days and then there's ones like today where something someone says, a song, a book, can make me cry.
There are days when talking to people is the best remedy, and days when you're sick of hearing "you're so young, just relax and it'll happen". I'm SURE I'm not the first person to hate hearing that phrase.
Hubby is so good to me.  He takes the mood swings, the crying, the obsessive bouts of house-cleaning and bake-a-thons that can occur on any given day.  He knows when to give me space, when to hold me tight, the right things to say and can pray like no one else I have ever met!
I believe with all my heart that when God chooses to send us a baby He will.  This is yet another area I have learned to accept and embrace.  The things we want now may not be in His plan...just yet.  Don't get me wrong, there are days I am frustrated by this!  And days when God and I argue about whose timing is best. BUT our faith is strong and it's keeping us going.  Our baby is coming, I know it!


Why hello there!

Hello from my computer screen to yours! 
I'm a twenty-something woman, working and living in beautiful Brisbane.  I'm married to a gorgeous man and the love of my life 'hubby'.  We've been married for just over 18 months and recently decided that we'd like to start our family.  Little did we know that this would be any more difficult than stopping contraception, taking some prenatal vitamins and start "trying".  But, when trying turned into nothing, and nothing turned into months of nothing, we thought we better go get checked out.
I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which basically means my body doesn't release an egg when it's supposed to.  It is one of the easier to treat causes of infertility, but nonetheless we're going to need help to make our babies.
Statistics can be boring, that is until when you become one.  I did a little research and this is what I can tell you about infertility in Australia, and trust me, I was surprised!
  • One in six couples is infertile. In 40 per cent of cases the problem rests with the male, in 40 per cent with the female, ten per cent with both partners, and in a further ten per cent of cases, the cause is unknown.
  • Fertility problems strike one in three women over 35.
  • One in 25 males has a low sperm count and one in 35 is sterile.
  • For healthy couples in their twenties having regular unprotected sex, the chance of becoming pregnant each month is 25 per cent.
  • The chance of conceiving in an IVF cycle is on average around 20 per cent (but varies due to individual circumstances).
  • More than one per cent of births in Australia involve the use of assisted reproductive technologies.
Crazy stuff right?!  Well to put that in a more personal perspective, out of ten of my female friends who have recently had babies, five have required fertility treatments.  It boggles my brain to think of it like that!  
So, I just thought if I can share what I know, and will learn, as we too travel down this road infertility and baby-lust, maybe it'd help remove some of the stigma and surprise about the challenges of baby making.
Here's a few links that I found helpful: