Duffed

Yep it worked! I didn’t want to bog you all down with my neuroses during the two week wait… so I spared you the pee stick shots etc.  Needless to say I was peeing on sticks as soon as I got home, at first I thought it was a chemical because the line was so faint (at 10dpo mind you – the tww does insane things to your reasoning skills)… but first beta came in at 163 and yesterdays was 438 so rising really well. I bit the bullet and booked in with my old OB so I could secure a spot with him as they book out crazy early here.  My first scan is on the 13th so fingers crossed that all goes well. When I see a heartbeat I start to relax a bit more and get a bit more excited … until then I’m quietly happy! I did have a bit of a bleed the other night (nothing is ever smooth sailing) so have upped my progesterone to 1 x PIO and one Crinone daily now in attempt to get the levels up. Hoping they stay nice and high but am being monitored with twice weekly blood tests thankfully. I have to say, my Marie Claire fertility specialist has been such a dream to work with this time around and her team – all my questions are answered and I don’t have to repeat my story a thousand times with going overseas to do the cycle. It makes it so much easier!

It Doesn’t Get Better Than This…

That’s what my doctor said to me at our appointment just before transfer yesterday. This has been a phenomenal cycle, the kind I’ve only ever read about before from others… never for me, so I’m a bit in awe that it’s actually happening.

Of our 20 embryos, 15 were of freezable quality – two were hatching and graded 5AA – we opted to transfer one of the hatching 5AA  blasts and to freeze the next top 10 embryos and discard the rest. I realise that sounds harsh but we had to consider what the point of freezing them would be when realistically I am only prepared to come back for one more cycle and even that is questionable right now, I’m pretty over all of this and want to get on with our lives. Even 10 being frozen seems excessive, but you never know what can happen and I want to assure we have at least one top quality one if we come back or we might do PGD on them if we have to come back one more time, it just gives us options really.

So the bottom right embryo was transferred yesterday and I’m feeling very positive and hopeful that this might just be the sibling we’ve been chasing.

I went for acupuncture with a lovely lady named Sarah Hewland who fitted me in on short notice and I’ll see her again on Friday for a second session.

I have two more days in Cape Town – most of it will be spent bumming around, I’m going to head up to the movies in a bit and see Passenger in 3D, eat some popcorn and might even head to another session in the afternoon and see Sing! I never get to go to the movies at home so it’s a bit of a treat and two in one day is unheard of! Tomorrow I’m having a facial in the morning, acupuncture,  then going to pick up some Wonki Ware homewares I purchased the other day (the lovely lady is packing it for travel for me) and buying a few gifts for family.  I’ll then have dinner in the top end restaurant downstairs here at the hotel and try to get a good nights rest before the flight home on Saturday. It’s been a nice trip, I’m missing the family of course but it’s been relatively stress free and enjoyable – I feel relaxed and happy that we’ve done everything we can this cycle. The rest is up to the embryo.

Hold on to Your Hats…

Here I am in Cape Town again! Back at the Vineyard Hotel and relaxing my ass off.

I’ll just recap for those who aren’t up to date with this cycle (or can’t be bothered reading back over 3 years of my writing)…. this is donor cycle #4 for us. In 2014 after 6 of our own egg cycles including a miscarriage we decided to use donor eggs in South Africa (Cape Town specifically) first cycle was a positive and he had our lovely daughter (she’s now 2). Since then in 2015 I returned for a FET with the remaining 2 embryos from her cycle – 1 didn’t thaw (it was a pre-blastocycst so I’m not sure why it was frozen anyway) and the other 3AB didn’t take.  Later in 2015 we used a new donor and I stupidly went for an unproven donor who had never been pregnant herself.  From go to woah the cycle was a bit average – 7 eggs, 4 fertilised, 2x3ABs transferred and 2 x 3AB’s frozen.  I also found this donor online (it’s supposed to be anonymous) but she put a pretty unique professional role title  on her profile so I googled that + “Cape Town” and she came up  – and through out our cycle in pretty much every photo she had a beer in her hand. So I asked the clinic for follow up information on how her ongoing cycles had gone for other couples  (hey it could just have been me!) and the results weren’t good, out of two more cycles she did no one got pregnant.  She herself also stated she was in a long term relationship not using protection and had never been pregnant.  So I totally went off the idea of going back for those embryos.  I was ruthless in my search for a new donor (my daughter’s donor agreed to donate again and then got pregnant herself in the interim) only someone who had donated before, had good numbers and resulting pregnancies for recipients, and I found someone who fit the bill, she also sounded nice.

During my daughter’s cycle my husband left and extra sperm sample over here –  “I’ve got jizz all over the world!” so we are using that sample and I’m over here solo cutting down travel time to a pretty minimal time frame of 5 days in Cape Town for a fresh cycle when they generally like you here for 12 days.

Pros of this approach:

  • I’m not paying for another 7 nights accommodation, meals etc.
  • If for some reason there’s an issue with fertilisation or egg collection I still have time to cancel flights / accommodation re-assess – when you’re over here and things go pearshaped the stress is enormous

Cons of this approach

  • You feel even more detached than normal to your cycle.
  • You’re paying for extra scans etc. in your home country and get no discount from the SA clinic for not doing scans with them

I have to say it’s been a pretty good cycle so far aside from one point – and if the clinic happen to trawl the internet for information on themselves then please take this feedback on board.

My doctor was on leave while my donor was stimming and another doctor was filling in for him. So maybe let your patients know that  you’re not going to be there for part of the cycle (same went for my nurse/coordinator she was off on leave during my cycle and I had no clue this was happening) to get right in the thick of things for a cycle and to send an email and get a bounce back from your doctor and then your nurse saying you’re both on holiday is pretty annoying.

But hey I can deal with that, my doctor would be back for my transfer day.  I’m then assured by the filling doctor that I’ll get an update on how egg collection went on the day (my night) I wait up all night for an email, I don’t want to be rude or pushy even though my now unmedicated anxiety is going into overdrive,  so I wait and wait until 4pm Cape Town time and send an email query if it went ok, or even if it went ahead because at this point I have no freaking idea and I’m leaving in 24 hours. No email comes in so I’m in a panic, was it bad news? Did she not turn up? Did she not trigger correctly? Who the fuck knows?  Not me that’s for sure, I’m just the chump at the other end paying the money!

I was livid at this fill in doctor that no update came through as promised on the day of egg collection. I mean, let’s face it, it’s just one of the biggest parts of how a cycle pans out. Egg collection/fertilisation (which I also requested an email outlining so I could know what I was dealing with on the flight over) and pregnancy test… the Big 3 of any IVF cycle.  And fuck you very much fill in doctor you failed one of the big 3.  So it’s Saturday and I email the donor agency I used to see if at least it went ahead, she confirmed thankfully that it did so that I could take comfort that the cycle was still going ahead.  So I wait until the next day and call the lab directly for results of how egg collection went.

So far this has been our best cycle yet – 20 eggs collected, yes 20! 19 fertilised normally, yes 19! I’ve never had a cycle like this ever – and you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop, gotta make it to day 3 and see the impact of the sperm… day 3 is generally where you’ll see a bit of a drop off in numbers if the sperms a bit iffy. That day was yesterday and not only were 19 still where they needed to be, the 20th rallied and is back in the game. 20 freaking embryos…

So I am bumming around Cape Town waiting for my transfer tomorrow – wallowing in ‘me time’ as only someone with a 2 year old can.  I’ve had my hair coloured, a foot massage, manicure, been waxed, having a pedi and massage later today and all systems are go for a day 5 transfer on Wed lunch time (thankfully with my own Doctor) and be peeing on sticks by  Thursday night (hey at least I’m honest – although I did limit myself to 2 when packing as testing at 3dp5dt is pretty pointless as we all know…right? Right?

 

Lining Scan

So part of the ‘luxury’ of doing the majority of my cycle from home and doing a ‘FIFO’ transfer in Cape Town is that my lining scan is done here. Normally at this point of the cycle I would need to be in Cape Town but to save costs I’m going at the last minute and leaving on Sunday morning to be in Cape Town for day 3 for any embryos which is this Monday.

Our donor will (hopefully) have egg retrieval this Friday – I hope to get an update today on how she is tracking and the go ahead for me to stop Synarel (looking forward to that 4 bottles later!) and start Gestone (not looking forward to that), I’m assuming she’ll have a scan today as she’ll need to trigger tonight if EPU is Friday. I’m getting antsy about updates now.

I’m so tired at the moment, yet completely wired on all the medications that insomnia is kicking in in full force every night no matter how tired I am. I also think it’s pre-cycle anxiety as well and a toddler who is waking during the night with molars breaking through. I bought some phenergan to get me through tonight, I just need one good chunk of sleep, work has been hellish to get through due to how foggy headed I’m feeling. I’m completely off my anxiety meds and now on 20 mgs of Prednisolone  which is making me slightly ragey, but knowing I have 2 weeks off work as of Friday lunchtime is helping to get me through!

So I can tick one hurdle off the list and that is my lining scan. I’m currently sitting at 8.5mm the tech said… “almost 9.5 but I’m going to be conservative”. I’m ok with that, I still potentially have a week until my transfer so it will continue to grow a bit and was just on triple stripe now… and every girl wants a triple striped uterus don’t they?

In my positive skew for this cycle, everything has been a ‘last hurrah’ for all the things I might be giving up as of next week, pâté, triple cream brie (to go with my triple striped uterus no doubt), smoked salmon, my dear, dear Pinot Noir and icy cold ciders on a summer afternoon. Hopefully I will need to bid these things adieu for a a few months so I’m savouring the moment(s) like only a woman who has been pregnant before can.

I’ve stocked up our freezer with homemade meals too – because last time I was up the duff I could not face cooking at all (which is so un-me) so at least the family will have a chance of survival.

All I need now is an update from the Dr in Cape Town…