Table of Contents

The whole shebang, from start to:

Kids

1.     Happy Valentines Day

2.     Terror Moments

3.     The Bag of Goodies

4.     ZOMG zomg zomg

5.     True Story

6.     Still waiting…

7.     The Antagonist

8.     One down…

9.     Bruised

10.  The List

11.  Nobody warned me

12.  No more injections

13.  Good attitude

14.  Harvesting

15.  The Jack Shack

16.  The good… and the not-so-good…

17.  Cutting it fine

18.  The Fate of the Fallen Embryos

19.  Transfer

20.  The Wait

21.  And…

22.  Upping the hormones

23.  Hanging around waiting

24.  Taking contraceptives to get pregnant

25.  And we’re off…

26.  Yuck

27.  Oh, look, is that an elephant…?

28.  Just quickly

29.  Is that a mood swing in your pocket..?

30.  One question answered

31.  Sharp, jabby things

32.  Pulling the trigger

33.  It’s a numbers game

34.  Guest Post: The Partner’s Experience

35.  Maddening

36.  Okay, now I’m terrified

37.  4 weeks 4 days

38.  Pics or it didn’t happen

39.  Shhhh… it’s a secret!

40.  5 weeks

41.  Should just say…

42.  Scan the first

43.  First Trimester Report

44.  The 12 week scan

45.  It’s a…

46.  Random things they don’t tell you about being pregnant…

47.  And so we reach… the end?

48.  Epilogue

Published in: on April 12, 2015 at 10:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Epilogue

So it’s been two and a half years since all the fun. I know, because Luke now looks like this:

Luke at 2

Yeah, I don’t know where his blonde hair and blue eyes comes from either, considering both the Partner and I are fairly dark. The scientists must have stirred his mixture up that way in the lab. But in about fifteen or so years he’s going be a hit with the attractive gender of his choice, what with all that blonde-hair-blue-eye action going on.

Anyway, about six months back, when Lukey was about to turn 2, I gave away all our baby gear. Like, everything. The clothes, the equipment, toys, high chair, bassinet, baby carrier. It all went to a fantastic local charity, St Kilda Mums, who source the basics for struggling families, those below the poverty line, those who are homeless or unemployed or without support or just need a bit of a hand. Those unable to to buy the cots or coats or formula or toys or nappies or other essentials for their babies and kids. 

So before anything else, please go check out St Kilda Mums, because they are the most awesome organisation I’ve ever come across: http://www.stkildamums.org

Anyway, I dropped everything off at their collection centre because The Partner and I had decided no more IVF. We couldn’t afford it, if nothing else – seriously, you know how expensive that kind of fun is? And we were both getting older. We were lucky to have our one, our Luke, and we could devote everything to him and that was fine.

Two weeks exactly after I gave everything away, I started feeling sick. A nausea which just didn’t go away. And tired. Train-wreck exhausted kind of tired. With stretching pains around the groin. And…

… you can see where this is going, right?

Look, don’t ask me how it happened. Well, okay, we’re all adults here and know *how* it happened, but believe me when I say with a 2 year old tearing around the house it’s not like The Partner and I were going at it like rabbits. Finding five minutes to ourselves every four or five months was about it, know what I mean?

Plus, I’m 40 now. What with all those fertility issues for all those years, and my “advanced maternal age”, as the medical types like to term it, I figured I was more likely to be hitting menopause than getting knocked up.

But there it was. Nausea, exhaustion, the rest. I did the whole pee on a stick thing – such a dignified process, even for one who’s gone through IVF – and before I’d even had a chance to glance at the clock to start counting down the 5 minutes until a result could be ascertained, there were two big fat dark lines showing up on the thing.

I was pregnant.

I am pregnant. About 30 weeks now with a huge pregnant belly preceding me wherever I go. A little girl, our Charlotte Rose, is due to turn up in about another 10 weeks and I’m quietly freaking out about how to manage two kidlings and still completely shocked that I will have to, but yes, more than anything at all, mind-blowingly happy.

The lesson in all this? That there isn’t one. Fertility is a card game, a dice roll, a crap shoot. Some people can’t stop having babies, others never will. Nothing is guaranteed. I had to tell my oldest friend I was ‘Surprise-Pregnant!’ the same week she miscarried for the second time. All I know is the fertility gods and goddesses are fickle buggers who won’t be second-guessed.

Good luck to anyone thinking about IVF, going through IVF, or facing decisions about whether or not to continue IVF. It’s a hell of a ride.

Love The Patient.

And Luke. And Charlotte. And The Partner.

 

Published in: on August 7, 2014 at 10:26 pm  Comments (1)  

And so we reach… the end?

Weeell…  I had to think of somewhere to end this blog, and this seemed a suitable kind of place.

I mean, I could go on. There’s plenty of amusing and eye-widening-surprise material in figuring out this new parenting lark, even if little time to write it up. But the internets are already full of mumsy and dadsy bloggers delighting us with tales of their little people.

Now, as a brand new mother, I know without doubt that my particular little person is the most special of all and tales of him must of course delight and entertain the online masses. But as a well-rounded human, I’m equally aware that this might not actually be true. Strange as it may seem, the most beautiful, amazing, wonderful little human in all the world – to my eyes – is probably just another baby to the vast majority of you out there.

Yeah, I know. Go figure.

Besides, this is an IVF blog. It’s about going through IVF. We’ve been through IVF now and come out the other side.

Oh, which reminds me, before I forget, here is the other side:

Yes, on February 8 2012 at 8.34 in the morning, Luke Edward was born by last-minute c-section. We decided on a ceaser the day before because I was 40 weeks and the little bugger hadn’t engaged yet, not to mention the fact he’d turned back around to breech again. And being what is described in the medical textbooks as a “precious” baby – in that, it was so difficult for us to conceive him and it’s not all that likely I’ll be able to do so again – we decided not to take any risks whatsoever and just cut the chap right out of there.

He came out bum-first, a big-un at 4210 grams (that’s about 9.5 pounds, for all you who refuse to go metric) and healthy as they could be.

And when he was put into my arms, I burst into tears and couldn’t stop.

Anyway, I could go into the detail of what it was like to have a ceaser (just weird, with all the pulling and tugging; it’s a rough-old experience), or falling in love the moment I saw him (hormones are not to be underestimated). Or even what it’s been like in the 5 weeks since (you may have noticed the disparate dates – he was born on the 8th of Feb, and here I am posting this on 16th March. What can I say, I’m a parent of a newborn; just finding time to turn on the computer is an achievement equivalent to scaling Everest in my current world.)

But I won’t. Well, not here. I will be back blogging at my main site, Let Me Digress (www.letmedigress.com), at least when I next get time to blog again. Which, by the way this parenting thing is going, may be somewhere around 2015. And I will include updates on the little fellow over there.

But here? No. This is the end, I’m afraid. The end of this part of the journey, anyway. IVF has been done and for us, fortunately, it was successful. We beat the odds. And our miracle baby has been born.

So hope you enjoyed the tales here and catch you all over at Let Me Digress sometime soon.

Bye from The Patient. And from Luke.

Published in: on March 16, 2012 at 7:42 pm  Comments (9)  

Random things they don’t tell you about being pregnant…

Because Too Much Information is Never Enough – here are some random things they don’t tell you about being pregnant:

~ Blood noses. You get them. Lots.

~ Employer parental leave policies are not as straightforward as you think. But they’re still easier to understand than the structure of Family Tax Benefits or Child Care Rebate calculations.

~ There is an inordinately long period between when you’re stomach starts to stick out and when other people will acknowledge you’re pregnant. During this period, most people (or so you think) will be looking at you and thinking: “maybe pregnant, probably just fat.”

~ Related to above. People don’t like taking the initiative to stand up for you on public transport. This is not actually from selfishness – most people are more than willing – but rather from fear of assuming pregnancy and only then finding out somebody is just fat

~ No, really about the blood noses. It’s something to do with thin membranes in the nose or dried out noses or something. And of course the loads and loads of extra blood pumping around your body, like massive amounts more than usual.

~ There’s loads of extra blood pumping around your body. So when you have a blood test or, you know, whack your hand while out in the street and don’t have a tissue handy at all, it takes forever to stop bleeding and the blood goes everywhere.

~ Along with the blood, there’s loads of other bodily fluids as well, like heaps of excess saliva and snot and stuff. And, oh yes…

~ …Discharge. See above. You don’t want to know the gory details. Just take my advice and pack a spare pair of undies.

~ You still have to take crowded peak-hour public transport to work in first trimester, even though you’ve got morning sickness and can throw up without warning. Carry a plastic bag. That’s all I can say.

~ The exhaustion of the first trimester is mind-blowing. You can sleep twelve hours, get up for an hour, and then need to go back to bed.

~ It’s advisable not to tell your workplace you’re pregnant in the first trimester. This coincides exactly with the period you are most exhausted, when your body routinely sending you to sleep in the middle of the day, and/or when you’re most prone to throwing up without warning.

~ Explaining your exhausted, vomity state to your boss without mentioning the word ‘pregnant’ is harder than it seems.

~ Did I mention the blood noses?

~ Thrush? Have I mentioned thrush? No? Well, consider it mentioned now. Big in pregnancy. Hope you enjoy yoghurt.

~ You dehydrate really easily. While there’s all this excess bodily fluid stuff, none of it is for you. It’s for the baby being created inside you. So you dry out. Drink lots of water.

~ Itchy skin. Dry eyes. Blood noses. Excessive thirst. Headaches. The dehydration will get you, one way or another. So let me repeat: drink lots of water.

~ You need to pee all the time. Like, all the time. No idea why.

~ When you first feel the baby move, you probably won’t recognise that it’s the baby. It is described on some of the more conservative pregnancy websites as “like you are passing wind”, and on the more down-to-earth pregnancy websites as “like you’re about to fart”. They’re not actually bullshitting you.

~ When you first feel the baby move and recognise it as such, it makes the world stop spinning and everything else falls away in importance.

~ Sleep deprivation begins way before the baby’s birth. Waaaay before. You just try sleeping a solid eight hours a night when you need to get up and pee every twenty minutes.

~ It’s okay to cry when you see your baby in the ultrasounds.

~ Try not to cry when you discover that your employer has a paid maternity leave scheme and you won’t have to default on your mortgage just to be able to stay home with the baby. The relief is immense, but tears in a workplace can be misconstrued and they might think something is wrong, instead of so right.

~ It’s not about you. Mother Nature only has one thing on her mind – reproduction of the species. She’s only interested in your baby. You’re just the host.

~ You tend to agree with Mother Nature.

~ Google is not your friend. There’s a lot of crap written about pregnancy out there and some good stuff. Sifting through it causes anxiety and, occasionally, spontaneous bursts of humour. Such as when you stumble across the pregnancy forum posting “I have mould in my bathroom, is this dangerous to my unborn baby?”

~ For the record, I wasn’t aware bathrooms came without mould.

~ Back ache, hip ache, leg ache, round ligament pain, stretching muscles, sore joints. Heart burn and indigestion. Swollen ankles and feet. See the “it’s not about you” item above.

~ I’ve not even touched yet on the psychological impact and anxiety of stressing about all the things that could go wrong at each stage in the pregnancy.

~ All this might sound very negative, but it’s not. It’s just the way it is and despite it all, with it all, being pregnant is wonderful, and amazing, and mind-blowingly surreal.

~ There’s a baby in there. A thinking, feeling, moving, breathing – even if it is amniotic fluid – and playing baby. They play with their umbilical cords while in the womb. Grabbing it and letting it go again. It’s their first toy.

~ I’ve enjoyed every second of it so far. Every second. Even the blood noses.

~ Of course, I’m only half way through. There’s still third trimester to come yet, not to mention…

~ …The Birth…

Published in: on October 22, 2011 at 10:45 am  Comments (4)  

It’s a…

…BOY.

Twenty week scan yesterday. The most important news is all was normal. This is the scan they call the Anomaly Scan, in that they’re looking for anomalies. In the heart, in the brain, in the spine, you know, just totally essential bits like that. They check for four chambers of the heart, that the blood is flowing correctly. They look for kidneys. Check bones. Check the face, looking for clefts. Look to see if the spine is covered by skin. And basically just are looking to see if all appears as it should be with a growing, twenty week old, baby.

Look, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You don’t know how wonderful the word ‘Normal’ sounds until you’re pregnant.

So all is normal with our little Six Cell. Who is far, far more than six cells now of course, but that will always be how we first saw him, a image of a six cell embryo just prior to it being implanted into me. IVF might be an emotional roller-coaster that’s incredibly expensive, invasive and scary, but it has its upsides, and not just because it gives the chance of parenthood to so many who would not otherwise be able to have it. We’ve been actively aware and engaged with the whole process, we were conscious of what was happening (as well as stressing over it, of coruse). We were there, we saw what our embryo looked like.

We could watch as our little six cell embryo implanted into my uterus. Now, that’s not something you get when you conceive naturally.

Not that you’d want to swap. If I had the choice, it’d be naturally fertile every time, obviously. But hey, we IVFer’s have to take our positives where we can get them.

But now Six Cell is a full 20 weeks old and wriggling away, healthy, happy and all perfectly NORMAL. And because at 20 weeks they can tell the sex, and because we asked, we can now declare that Six Cell shall no longer be known as Six Cell.

Because Six Cell is a boy. Which means his real name is Luke. Luke Edward Hudson.

So say hello to Luke Edward, via a wee video his father put together:

http://www.youtube.com/ldhudo#p/u/0/L23N-fRFRuE

Kind Regards

The Patient

Published in: on September 22, 2011 at 12:17 pm  Comments (2)  

The 12 week scan

So…  how did the 12 week scan go?

Brilliantly, thank the gods. You can see it here, little 6-Cell, as he or she is known – the embryologist when we went in for transfer showed us a picture of our six cell embryo, hence the name – all wriggling around:

http://www.youtube.com/ldhudo#p/a/u/0/7qlRjv03dmM

And for those who prefer a stills image to a moving one, here’s the pics to prove it:

This ultrasound was one of the screening tests for Down Syndrome and other chromosomal disorders – it’s called an NT or nuchal translucency scan. And it’s kind of worrying when you first face it. You know, what with me being over 35 and all. It goes something like this. A 25 year old mother-to-be might have an average risk (based only on age, not any other factor) of 1 in 1351 of conceiving a baby with a chromosomal disorder. But by 35 you’ve hit somewhere between 1 in 300 or 400. And if you’re over 40, you don’t really want to think about the numbers, believe me.

But based on the ultrasound last Thursday and blood tests I had at the 10 week mark, our risk factor was recalculated at 1 in 2370. Considering low risk is considered anything from 1 in 300 or better, we’re more than two thousand chances better. Yay!

We heard baby’s heart beat. An excellent 163 bpm. We saw him or her wriggling about all over the place, moving arms and legs, twisting and turning. We counted fingers and saw they were all there. There were two arms, two legs. A perfectly symmetrical brain which is being developed even as I type – weeks 12 to 18 are a big brain development time.

And… well, just have a look at the video linked to above. That’s little 6-Cell, waving away in there. Be sure to wave back now…

Kind regards

The Patient

Published in: on July 30, 2011 at 4:40 pm  Comments (1)  

First Trimester Report

Well, it’s done. First trimester, that is. We’re through, we’re passed and all is well. As of today, I am officially 12 weeks and 3 days, and all scans, tests and other medical fun experienced in the last week indicate that bub is, in all ways, perfectly “normal”.

I swear, you don’t know how beautiful the word ‘normal’ is until you’re pregnant.

See, I’ve spent the bulk of first trimester feeling like a zombie with an anxiety disorder. I didn’t get hit by much morning sickness, the occasional queasy moment if I didn’t have breakfast early enough, but that was about it. No sore boobs, no big mood swings. My fellow commuters remained safe from my accidentally throwing up on their shiny shoes in a jam-packed morning commuter train.

But what I did get hit with was a constant, mind-numbing, limb-weighting exhaustion dragging through the days, until I couldn’t think, couldn’t move, couldn’t do anything but sleep.

Which doesn’t always go well when you’re trying to hold down a full-time corporate managerial position and you can’t even tell work you’re preggas. Suffice to say, there were some moments there when I’d end up in the ladies’ loo just for the chance to close my eyes, if only for a few blessed minutes.

Hmmm, and while I’m on that subject – I’ve discovered the majority of available pregnancy websites, information sheets and books still have a tendency to warn of pregnancy exhaustion in the tones of “so ladies, make sure you take that afternoon nap, and if this isn’t your first pregnancy and you already have young children, find someone to babysit so you can get that extra sleep you need.”

Uh, yeah. And to them I say: oh, just bugger off with your outdated division of household labour, will you. It most certainly doesn’t help when you find yourself falling asleep in the your senior manager’s office while they’re trying to discuss capital budgets for the upcoming financial year.

Hmmm. Maybe I experienced some mood swings after all…

Anyway, that’s been me for three months. A zombie. With an anxiety disorder. Because the other stand-out memory of first trimester for me is… panic.

Well, not quite panic. But certainly a constant anxiousness that never went away. And sure, maybe that’s to be expected when you’ve been trying to get pregnant for something close to five years and it’s taken every medical intervention possible to make it finally happen. One’s ability to believe it’s actually real and that nothing is going to go wrong does become somewhat diminished, let me tell you.

It’s been a long five weeks since my last 7 week scan. During that time, a couple close to us suffered a devastating miscarriage. Then at about ten weeks my fatigue started to lift, so I wasn’t even feeling pregnant anymore. And I’m over 35. You don’t know how much of the pregnancy literature out there starts to scream “huge-high-massive risk for chromosomal disorder!!1!” once you hit the 35+ age group.

Suffice to say, by the time we turned up for the 12 week scan last Thursday, my nerves had kicked in. My old friend anxiety was really ramping up the panic party.

But all for naught. So thank your favourite deity, because all is well, all is excellent, all is perfect.

All is normal.

And I’ve got the pics to prove it… but I’ll save those for next time.

Kind regards

The Patient

Published in: on July 30, 2011 at 4:04 pm  Comments (1)  

Scan the first

7 week scan yesterday. This was to check that everything is where it’s meant to be, the size it’s meant to be, the shape it’s meant to be, and that there was a heartbeat.

No, not from me. From the baby.

And there was one. Which I got to see. Ooooh.

Here’s a picture, in which you can’t see the heart beat because it’s a still image (derr), but you can see a longish black shape within a larger lighter grey circle, and that, I believe, is the baby:

Not that it looks much like a baby just yet. Bubs is still just a black smudge on a screen with a heartbeat that almost made me cry to see – yes, okay, I admit it, but after trying for so long and going through so much to get this far, I think I’m allowed a bit of a watery eye on seeing the baby’s heartbeat for the first time, hmmm?

Apparently, though, if we could see in Hollywood Technicolour 3D High-Def movie detail, we’d see a strange little shape with a huge head, big black spots for eyes, buds for arms and legs with webbed ends that will later become hands and feet, and ears, nose etc forming. Internal organs are forming. And the tail – the wee thing starts off very tadpole shaped in the early weeks – I’m pleased to say, is shrinking or has gone.

Trusies. A bit alien like, really. Which is pretty cool, I think, though I am a scifi fan, so maybe that’s just me.

But we can’t see all that, we can only see the image above. The black smudge. The ultrasound lady told me the baby is placed perfectly in the uterus, the cervix is exactly the right shape and closed off, and all the relevant sacks and yokes and circles and stuff in the uterus around the baby are just right.

So everything is perfectly normal for 7 weeks in.

You don’t know how wonderful the sound of the word “normal” is until you’re having a baby.

And have to say, the more ultrasounds I do – and by now, I’ve done stacks – the more I respect those who do them, for making sense out of the grainy pictures up on those screens.

So that’s where we are now, folks. 7 weeks in and all going well.

Oh, and I’m finally getting queasy in the mornings and the evenings, so we can say that morning sickness has finally arrived. Thought it’s none too bad, so I’m not going to complain, in case the cosmic karma gods decide they’ve heard enough whining from me about not feeling pregnant enough and send me a case of Hyperemesis Gravidarum just to shut me up.

Kind Regards

The Patient

Published in: on June 23, 2011 at 11:15 am  Comments (1)  

Should just say…

… the blood test from last Friday was all good news. Hormone levels exactly where we want them. Excellente.

Now it’s just hang about and wait until the 7 week scan (I’m sitting at 5 and a half weeks currently) to check the embryo has implanted where it should and hasn’t scurried up a fallopian tube, or something dreadful like that. Yup, there’s a hell of a lot of waiting in this game. And a hell of a lot of worrying.

The symptoms are still doing that dancing around the edges of obvious thing – not a hint of morning sickness yet, no sore boobs either, but very exhausted some days, cramping and back pain on others – so I’m definitely feeling knocked up and no longer worried the blood tests might just be some kind of cosmic hoax. This is definitely real. But that only means the worry has shifted sideways and setup next door, in the “yes, but is it all developing normally?” camp.

Interesting to think that if this were a naturally conceived pregnancy, I’d only be wondering if I should go out and buy a home pregnancy test about now.

Kind regards

The Patient

Published in: on June 12, 2011 at 8:15 pm  Comments (1)  

5 weeks

So darn tired today. I’m hoping this is because I’m pregnant – it’s one of the list of symptoms which gets bandied about the many zabillions of internet sites devoted to human reproduction – and not merely because I’m working a corporate day job with a long commute and never get enough sleep. Let’s face it, I have a sleep debt going back years. It’s the Taj Mahal of sleep debts.

Or it could be that I’m trying to cut caffinne out of my life like it’s the new tobacco (and failing, I might add). Coffee, I’m afraid, is considered a no-no for the TTC crowd (that’s Trying To Conceive, for those not in the know), and when you’ve been trying so hard you’ve ended up at IVF, you’re usually so desperate for any little thing you can do to help it along that you’ll give up breathing if someone somewhere on the internet suggests it might help.

It’s not that caffinne is a bad-bad-evil, like alcohol or tobacco. But there are some studies which suggest large doses may possibly impair a lass’s ability to conceive and/or lead to problems in early pregnancy. I’ve never been a large doses of caffinne girl. I have been known to consume diet-cola drinks in near-addiction levels, but these have been expunged from my life, along with the red wine I was so fond of in the evenings after work. Indeed, I’ve managed to cut out just about everything.

Except that morning coffee. And the cups of tea later in the day. It was easier to give up the grog than it was the caffinne, I tell you.

So, anyway. Symptoms. Fact is, I don’t have too many. Like the hormonal roller-coaster I was promised but which never really materialised during the IVF shooting-up cycles, I’ve yet to start experiencing much of anything to indicate I am actually pregnant. In fact, aside from a few minor twinges here or there, I’ve not felt much different at all, really. All just normal.

And yes, that does play on the mind. In big chunky anxiety-raising ways.

I’ve read the statistics relating to the ‘m’ word – that which stops pregnancies and which here will only ever be known as ‘That Which Shall Not Be Named Except Sometimes Called The M-Word’ – and I know those stats are higher in relation to IVF buns-in-the-oven. So while there are no indications anything has gone wrong, I’d still feel a bit more comfortable if I got hit with a good dose of morning sickness right about now. Or at least some obviously sore boobs. Or anything, really, to prove this is real and going the way it should.

Yes, I may come to regret that wish. Right now I hope I do.

At the risk of swan-diving into Too Much Information Territory, I have had some minor signs. Mild – very mild – cramp-and-bloating-like sensations, on occasion. A few days where my breasts felt slightly sensitive. It was rare and it didn’t last long. For the first week and a half after transfer, I was on an unnatural high – really, my mood was so good, it was becoming unseemly.

Now, I’m just back to my normal, cheery, cynical self, and busy Googling every pregnancy forum around for confirmation that being 5 weeks pregnant and experiencing no obvious major symptoms is okay. Because that’s what you do when there’s nothing you can do. You google, looking for that wee bit of hope to sustain you until the next round of tests.

I tell you, how did women survive early pregnancy for all those millennia before Teh Interwebs came along?

Blood test on Friday. Waiting for it has become almost as bad as the 2WW. I’ve googled so many sites listing what to expect at 5 weeks pregnant I’m now not sure if I’m actually experiencing symptoms, or am simply imagining I am, psychosomatic-style.

But all in all, I am very tired today. Really freakin’ exhausted. So maybe that’s a good sign. Or maybe I just need more sleep. Or coffee.

Kind regards

The Patient

Published in: on June 8, 2011 at 6:13 pm  Comments (2)