Sunday, 17 June 2012

The start of something VERY special

I have been meaning to sit down and start writing this post for about the last two weeks.  Instead, the days got the best of me and so now I am going to write it like the giant adventure it has been.  This post covers the last fortnight of our first IVF cycle, and so as not to bore you all too much, I'll write it like a journal entry.  Please excuse any misunderstood terminology, spelling errors, etc.   Obviously, this being our first IVF cycle, we are just getting used to all the jargon that goes with it.

Day 1: I get my period.  Weight = 59.5kg.  Waist = 76.5cm.

Day 2: Visit to the clinic to pick up my drugs (Gonal F and Orgalutran).  Start Gonal F injection 150mg daily.

Day 3: Gonal F 150mg

Day 4: Gonal F 150mg

Day 5: Gonal F 150mg

Day 6: Gonal F 150mg.  Also get infection in foot, start antibiotics.

Day 7: First follicle scan with Dr - approx. 20 follies.  Gonal F 150mg. Visit to Emergency Department for foot, antibiotic dose increased.

Day 8: Gonal F 150mg and Orgalutran 250mg.

Day 9: Gonal F 150mg and Orgalutran 250mg.  

Day 10: Second follicle scan with Dr - approx. 24 follies, ranging between 1.7-2cm each.  Approx. date for egg pick up Day 13.  Weight = 59.9kg.  Waist = 78cm.

Day 11: Visit clinic to pick up trigger injection (Ovidrel).  Gonal F 150mg and Orgalutran 250mg.  Ovidrel 250mcg at 6pm ON THE DOT! Weight = 60.6kg.  Waist = 81cm.

Day 12: No more drugs.  Fast from midnight for egg pick up tomorrow. Weight = 59.4kg.  Waist = 83cm.

Day 13:  Check in at hospital at 6am.  Greeted by Dr and scientist.  Am told that we will be going to "all freezing" cycle due to numbers and fluid retention.  Very highly Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS).  Wake up following procedure with a number written on my hand (33)!  Hubby brings me home from hospital, feeling bloated and crampy but otherwise fine.

Day 14: Spend day on couch with abdo cramps, otherwise fine.  Call from scientist at clinic - confirmed 33 eggs collected.  23 in Day 1 fertilisation.  Hubby and I are in shock!  Weight = 61.4kg.  Waist = 84cm.

Day 15: TODAY!  Feeling slightly short of breath.  Trying to drink lots of water, but appetite and thirst gone down.  Call from Dr who is concerned I will balloon any time now.  Go for walk around local shopping centre and feeling much better.  Wearing TEDS (Thrombo-embolitic Device Stockings) to reduce risk of fluid shift to legs and prevent clots.  Weight = 62kg.  Waist = 84.2cm.
Hubby and I are completely blown away with the numbers that we have produced so far.  Going into this cycle we had so many reservations and questions (read past entries) about whether this would all work or not.  Having tried all other methods before IVF to get pregnant and coming up short, we were nervous that IVF would produce answers that were far too scary to hear; are my eggs any good, why can't our eggs and sperm fertilise, what if it's my uterus, etc, etc.  So when I woke and found that I had made 33 shining little eggs, I was gob-smacked!  And to hear a day later from the scientist, that 23 of those 33 were fertilising, is absolutely incredible to us!  We are in a complete state of shock and awe.

There have been a few minor set backs though.  To hear that my OHSS was so bad we couldn't even consider safely transferring embies back this cycle was very upsetting.  Already I feel attached to those 23 little cells working away in the lab.  I want them back to me as soon as I can have them.  BUT, we realise that this is only a minor bump in the road.  If we were to transfer now, I'd become very sick very quickly, and that would put our strong little embies at a great risk, not to mention me!  So, we take the news in our stride, buck ourselves up and prepare for the time when we can have them back.  Our doctor has recommended a minimum of two cycles (the end of this cycle, plus the next) before he'll consider my levels safe enough.  So that gives us approximately six to eight weeks for me to get back to full health, and to mentally prepare for our transfer.  At this point we are undecided as to how many we'll transfer.  The scientist will call us again at Days 3 and 5 of fertilisation to let us know how our little ones are growing.

Right now we are in emotional limbo.  It's such a funny place to be.  Knowing that our genes are snuggled up safely in a lab a few suburbs away, doing the very best they can to join together and create the beginning of our little offspring.  I want to go over there and press my face against the glass, and watch as they each take another tiny step towards viability.  I already feel like such a proud parent.  Our little ones are fighting to exist.  God has made all this possible.  He has heard our cries, heard our pleas of longing, and answered with a resounding YES, IT IS POSSIBLE!  My heart is filled with joy and excitement about what comes next.  Soon, very, very soon, it will be time to take our embies home!!

Monday, 4 June 2012

30 Days of Grateful Blogging - Day 30

When I first decided to start this 30 Days of Grateful Blogging project I was stuck in a bit of a rut.  We were on a baby hiatus and felt like we were very literally getting nowhere in our attempts to have a family.  My job was stressful in ways that were affecting every other part of my life.  And Hubby was struggling with coming to terms with our inevitable step towards IVF.  I wanted to find a way to focus on something other than myself, on my troubles and dig myself out of the misery that was building around me.  I wanted to show the world I wasn't ungrateful for the blessings I was receiving and not acknowledging.  I had been far too vain and ignorant for far too long.  There were so many beautiful things in my life, and I was just passing them off like they didn't mean a thing.  But I was wrong.  Boy, I was I so very wrong.

When you choose to focus on the positive instead of dwelling on the negative something magical happens... you start to see beauty in EVERYTHING and EVERYONE!!  I started waking with a purpose of intentionally finding something lovely to be thankful for.  The first few entries were easy to write.  Sunny days, phone calls from friends, cuddles with my Husband; all the simple things I am so grateful for.  But it became so much bigger than me, and my immediate sphere.  It became about growing as a person; someone who doesn't need constant entertaining or huge acts of universal kindness to be grateful for what's right here in front of me everyday.  

I would drive to work and just lose myself in the glorious sunrise shining across the city at 6.30am every morning.  I would sit on the couch and find myself thinking how content I am with my little home and the two amazing creatures I share it with.  I would pay more attention to the conversations I had with friends, take more time to spend with them, and really just try and be a good friend.  I found myself saying quiet "thank you's" that only God could hear, several times a day when I felt like I was having a special moment just for me.  I told my Husband I loved him, a million times a day, and why he was so darn incredible in my eyes.  I let my guard down around him; was my real self, and he was his.  We loved, like we haven't in such a long time; with no agenda, no rules.  Just us.  

So here we are, 30 (or so) days later... We are about to embark on one of the most exciting times in our lives.  Hubby has just started back at uni, and I am about to start a new chapter at work doing something I've waited a long time to get into.  AND we just started our first IVF cycle.  And the best part is that we're both comfortable and 100% ready for it all!  It will be a lot to take on all at once, and for the tiniest time we were worried it was all too much at once.  But the time we have taken away from everything baby-making has brought us together, stronger and sturdier than before.  I am grateful now for that time we took.  For very, very soon, all our waiting will be over!

So though this project was only ever meant to be 30 days long, it is something that I will keep close to my heart and mind for the rest of my life.  Wake up every day searching for something beautiful.  Even if you are having a bad day, look for the little things that can turn it around.  It can be a person, a kind word, a funny picture, a song that sings your thoughts, a cuddle, or your cat!