and so it begins…

Hello to all in blog land!

It’s been a while since I kept a blog, my last one revolved around my single life and internet dating many moons ago. Back then, I found it to be a very good outlet for all my bizarre dates and the blokes I met along the way. Blogging also got me through the breakup of my first marriage. I met some great people along the way from blogging it out back then, so I figured I’d do it again for this journey (hopefully ) towards a baby through donor eggs in Cape Town.

I know when I first started looking at donor egg treatment overseas – I was insatiable for information on the topic. It didn’t matter what country, I just wanted to read personal stories from women who had done it. I loved reading back from the beginning (not knowing the outcome of their cycle) hoping to get the surprise BFP with them at the end. I’m hoping like crazy my blog will offer that hope to someone else too.

So here’s the nitty gritty:

Why do I need to even consider going halfway across the world for someone elses eggs?
You know, it’s that old story: My husband and I met later in life (when I was 39) and initially got held up with ttc by my dicky gallbladder… we were told not to try to get pregnant until I could get that removed, so that was 6 months of waiting and then we went at it hammer and tongs so to speak, but with 6 months of very enthusiastic TTC naturally – along with charting, saliva microscopes, Fertilaid, Ovuboost, Vitex, and OPKs and no baby.

So off to Fertility Specialist #1, Dr Fancy Shirt. He opted for 3 very run of the mill cycles with minimal testing. He also managed one very stupid FET where the embryo was put in 15 days before I actually ovulated as they only depended on OPK’s and didn’t do blood tests and I didn’t know any better than to question the so called ‘Expert’.

I left him in disgust after that FET and saw a colleague of his within the same clinic, she was kind of like the Columbo of Fertility Specialists, always in a bit of disarray, a little bit bumbling, but sweet. I’m not sure what I was thinking there – I was just looking for a more progressive Fertility Specialist I think who would opt for more testing – but that wasn’t her.

Our first cycle with her was an absolute disaster with no eggs collected at pick up. A devastating thing to happen and this is where I REALLY started to angle towards donor eggs with my husband. I just didn’t know how much more I could take. The WORST part of the no eggs at pick up debacle was when I woke up in recovery and was told the outcome and I was waiting for my husband to come and get me, the woman in the next bed (we had a sheet curtain between us) was saying to her partner that she only got 3 eggs and “imagine how bad it would feel if you only got one… or God imagine if you got none!” and I felt like bitch slapping her down through that curtain, but I was too upset to.

I did one more cycle with Colombo and then moved on to my current FS who is a big name in the field, she gets featured in glossy mags and morning television etc. as a result you have to wait almost 3 months to get in to see her.  I was warned she was no nonsense and got results. Just what I wanted!  I didn’t need someone to hold my hand, I needed someone to get me up the duff.

My hubby and I had an agreement that we would cycle with my own eggs until the end of 2013, then we would move on to a donor. So we went in with all guns blazing with the new FS – she tested for anything and everything. I had about 13 vials of blood taken, so a full blood work up and was promptly booked in for a D&C and hysteroscope (God knows why this was never done with the other two FS’s). It turns out I have immune issues, elevated NK Cells, Factor V Lieden (clotting disorder), Coeliac disease which effects fertility and just a touch of MTHFR – so basically, I never would have gotten pregnant if I stayed with the old FS’s – great to know approx $20k later right?

I did 2 cycles with the new FS – first one was a boost/flare and we used standard insemination as I’d had the best fertilsation results with this the cycle prior at the old clinic. This time the fertilisation rates were terrible – we got 6 mature eggs, only 3 fertilised and we only had two on day 3 to transfer. I’m used to disappointment now and I have faith in my new FS. We soldier on.

The next cycle was a bit better, still a Boost/Flare cycle, after months of DHEA, Melatonin etc. 17 eggs!  10 fertilised and we managed to get 2 x 5 day blasts to transfer. This cycle resulted in a BFP  which was my first ever! This was in late Oct 2013 after a cycle involving antibiotics, prednisolone, clexane, pregnyl boosters, menopur and Gonal F. But the excitement pregnancy was short lived. The pregnancy was plagued by low, slow betas, then they doubled… then they didn’t… then they thought it was ectopic, it wasn’t. Then they told me I’d miscarried… then they saw a heartbeat, then I was told the heartbeat was only 76 bpm and should be faster… then I waited another week for a scan, started bleeding and there was no fetal heartbeat.  So D&C on Nov 25th at 9 weeks and it’s all over. I grieved throughout that pregnancy as I was never lead to believe it was viable (which in hindsight may have been a blessing). It was the most stressful time of my life. On Nov 26th, not to be defeated, I was finding my donor in South Africa.

I’m very much a ‘get on with it type’ and I think at this point I was just so sick of bad news, I needed something positive to look forward to. I’d narrowed my donor choice down to two ladies in a surprisingly short amount of time, but was a bit put off to find out that one of them had donated 6 times before , I know it’s probably mad, but I can’t help of think of the toll that must take on you. I’ve done 6 ivfs in 2 years and I can tell you I’m not lining up to do another one! The other donor smoked, which turned me off a bit due to the effects on egg quality and considering the time/effort and not to mention cost involved, I really want to maximise my chances of success. I also noticed she was listed on two donor sites which made me a bit uneasy.

And then she appeared! I think she was there for all of 6 hours before I snapped her up. 22 years young, first time donating, same height as me, same hair colour, same eye colour, same blood type, she had just had her own baby (so proven), a very kind sounding woman (and the bit I really love she prides herself on being resilient – which I am too). She just sounded like someone I could sit down and have a coffee with.

You can only see baby photos doing donor treatment in South Africa, but that’s ok, I don’t want some other woman’s face in my mind when I hopefully have a baby out of all of this. The donor agency provides a written description of her and in my mind she looks like Jessica Brody from Homeland.  I don’t know why but this is just who I picture when I picture her! I felt excited when I read her profile and I think that’s the most important thing. I could relate to her and the snippet of her personality she chose to share on the form. They also provide a family medical history on these forms and a bit of a section on her interests etc. I had the opportunity to send her an anonymous message,  so I told her a bit about our life and how a baby would completely change it for the better. I also told her of our struggles with fertility.

We woke up the following morning to the message she had agreed to donate for us in March and we were both so happy! So with our donor chosen and our deposit paid to the clinic, I promptly got told my chosen doctor at Cape Fertility was going on leave for Christmas so not much would actually be happening until Feb 2014… so now I wait. Did I mention I’m not very good at waiting?

I can’t book any flights or accommodation until I have my dates from the clinic so it’s all going to be very last minute when things get going. I really do hope there are no hiccups with my donors medical screening and that it all goes off without a hitch.

I can’t tell you how good it feels to be filled with excitement about this journey again – even hubby is starting to get excited as he realises its a bit of a much needed holiday as well as a treatment. So we’re ready to go on this donor journey and I’m hoping I’ll have a few others here reading along for support.