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.

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7 Eggs

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Hey it’s not the bumper haul I’ve read about from other ladies recently but we’ll take it. I’m just hoping for a decent fertilisation report tomorrow.

We got the call on retrieval at about 10am as we were heading into the Aquarium for the morning – the  baby was mostly good, we had a lovely lunch at Harbour House on the waterfront, I went crazy buying Wonki Ware dinnerware and platters for our house down at the V&A Art Market… I could have spent $1000 more, but we don’t have it.

We meandered around some more and have now come back to the cottage to flake out. Tomorrow we’ll head down the coast for a drive and some lunch out, Sunday might just be a movie day for me while the husband watches the baby.

Still feeling somewhat detached from it all – the ball is already in motion, there’s nothing I can do to determine where that ball may land so I’ve just got to go along for the ride.

Cape Town Love.

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We have arrived in lovely Cape Town again! The flight with a 10 month old teething baby was hellish to say the least – I really felt for my husband as she wouldn’t have a bar of me and would only sit on his lap or fall asleep on him. I was not good enough. So 22 hours later he was very glad to have a break from her. She grizzled for about 85% of the flight and fitfully napped for the remainder.  Let me just say, I’m looking into how much it will cost us to do a stop over in Singapore airport on the way back to save all our sanity.

It was lining scan time for me today and things are looking good in uterus town, currently I’m sitting at about 9,7mm – donor is a little behind in follicle growth so they will stim her for a few days longer and egg collection is now looking like Friday instead of Wed. This has thwarted all my intentions of testing before we fly home as it pushes out transfer to the 18th of September and we fly home on the 20th, that might just be a good thing though I guess.

My Doctor said my donor is really sweet and had around 14 follicles at her scan currently between 10 to 15 mm so by Friday will be ready to go. It’s weird, but I’m not at all stressed about this cycle… like no stress… which is really not like me.

We’ve not done too much since arriving, just trying to all get in the time zone. The baby has had a couple of total jetlag meltdowns which is to be expected, but in general she’s doing well. We are currently staying at the Cape Heritage Hotel, very quirky and boutique in the Malay Quarter, it’s a great spot and I’m loving the uniqueness of the place, it was built in 1708 so it’s all creaky old floorboards, vaulted ceilings, internal courtyard with great restaurants opening into it, it’s right on Bree Street so lots of things to do around here.  We are moving to our airbnb cottage tomorrow which will be good in the fact that it will be quieter for E and we won’t have to tip toe around when she’s asleep. But look at this place… so cute! Here’s the original building back in 1910 or something.

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Status Anxiety…

Two days to go until we leave now. In typical fashion the husband is coming down with the Manflu, this time the Dutch man flu. Last time we all went together it was the Mexican Manflu. I’m hoping to God that I don’t catch anything this time. My immune system is suppressed with the Prednisolone so I’m vulnerable! The last thing I want is to be sick while cycling.

I’m beginning to think about the ramifications either way of this cycle. If I do get pregnant, do I go back to work for 4 months in January before going on maternity leave again? If I don’t get pregnant, do I go back?  So much of your identity is tied up in what you do for a living and it’s hard being 43 and thinking about starting somewhere new, doing something new etc. but at the same time, that option is kind of exciting.   I’ve said it before, I love my job but 10 years is a long time these days to be in the one place, sure I’ve moved positions and worked up in the company but I can’t see much more room for growth and I also find it hard to see myself leaving E in full time care.  So these are the things I’m beginning to think about. These are the things I’m sure every mother has to think about.

I put in an application for a part time writing on a parenting website today, I had to rejig the old CV a bit as it’s been a while between drinks. They were asking for links to samples of writing which made me feel like a dinosaur because they are all in clippings in a cupboard. I was writing for a living back when it was print media (remember magazines?), I did write for a few start up websites back in the day but at that point the internet was not in every living room. I had to fax my articles into my editor back then! Quite funny to see how times have changed in regard to blogging and online journalism. When I told a friend about my articles in the cupboard she said ‘filed next to your Smash Hits magazines!’ I said I wrote for Smash Hits … not quite that old… but almost.

In other news, I’m feeling pretty good. No more aches and pains – just a bit spaced out I think from the steroids, I’m also eating for 2 due to them as well. No updates on our donor but that’s not unusual, I’ll get the lay of the land (so to speak) on Monday when I go in for my lining scan. Then hopefully it’s all systems go. Bizarre to think I could be pregnant in 10 days time.

Back to the Drawing Board

Blood test was negative. So we are back on the horse again, not sure who is our horse is, not sure when exactly we are getting on it, but we are going one last time. We need to sell some shares in order to make it over there now that we are on one income, but we are lucky that we have them as our back up plan, if we didn’t have them then we’d likely have to call it quits.

I guess the one good thing out of this is that I can potentially go back to work from Jan – May to save some money and to build up our nest egg a bit more, I honestly haven’t even looked at the whole childcare thing, haven’t thought about going back to work etc. I’m not scheduled to go back until mid Jan so have some time to think about it. I put E’s name down at the childcare around the corner in June last year so she’ll get in there.  It seems absurd to be putting a baby so small into childcare, but I guess people do it… they have to.

So all I can do now is research our trip with a toddler, we are likely looking at going in October as we have to work around the husbands work travel schedule which is yet to be confirmed. Stupidly I started looking at donors in case our original one says no, and saw a lovely one, of course she was snapped up quick smart… so I have to stop looking until I know what we are doing or I’ll send myself spare. You may have deduced (if you’ve read this blog for any length of time) that I am slightly impatient and you would be very, very right.

In a nice turn of events, I don’t need any testing re-done as all mine are up to date, but the husband needs a semen analysis and his bloods re-done so I’ll have to book him in for all of that (if I left it up to him it would take weeks). I do have to get E a passport, and research travel sleep options over there, I don’t want to lug a port-a-cot with us.

I’ve made an appointment with my old fertility specialist from the old clinic in mid July, she offered way back when to help with scripts etc. for an overseas cycle, but I stuck with my Marie Claire fertility specialist simply because she had all my test results and recent history but as I’ve found in my last two overseas cycle, if something goes slightly haywire like hmmm no period, or say, a double period, I have nowhere to turn and her office just kind of fobs me off. I need someone I can call and talk to and get real advice from so I’m going back to Colombo, she was lovely but just not progressive enough for my own egg cycles, for a donor cycle, I think she will be a good fit. I just need to find out if she does Uterine scratches, as that’s what I really want done before the next cycle. I have sent in a spy to find out for me.

So now I’m back to waiting…

Dodging Bullets

My estrogen levels have come down and my donor egg cycle will be going ahead.

I can’t tell you what a relief this is after the stress of the last week not knowing what my cycle was doing and how this was going to work if I couldn’t go ahead. I’ll delay the start of my estrogen by a couple of days but everything else is on track.

I’ll begin my antibiotics and steroids tomorrow. I”m pretty much doing my own immune protocol as my FS here has been useless – I’m not sure why she even said she would help me with the cycle.  I had to chase her for two weeks for advice on when to time things and she told me the wrong information in the end. Telling someone with Factor V to start clexane the day before transfer, when they are taking estrogen and flying for 25 hours shows to me she didn’t really even look into my history when she emailed that advice.  Good thing I know what I’m doing!

Ok now I will go have a lovely glass of red wine and just breathe.  We leave two weeks from today.

Imposter Mama…

I had one of those awkward moments the other day – I’d been at an appointment in the city and was in the car park paying for my parking when the ticket machine went a bit haywire, it took my $50 but was taking forever to give me my change. While the machine was having conniptions I noticed a woman was waiting behind me, I gave her an apologetic smile and said. “It’s taking forever to come out!” and she laughed, “Yeah kinda like giving birth!” She exclaimed. I was a bit taken aback but then nodded heartily in agreement and laughed along with her. Who was I to ruin her joke? “Ha! Exactly!”  I said, and at that moment I realised I was an imposter mama.  I then had a vision of how funny it would be if I started off on my infertility life story, “Oh God, Birth?  I wouldn’t know about that, I’ve just done my 6th round of IVF but it ended in a miscarriage…so now I’m going halfway around the world to use the eggs of a 22 year old… talk about taking forever!” Now that would be awkward.  I’ve done it before, just gone along with these conversations with strangers when they make an assumption given my age that I would have kids and I always feel a degree of satisfaction when I do it… hey it keeps me entertained.

So a bit has happened in the last week and at the same time, absolutely nothing has happened. Our donor was due for screening last Tuesday but was apparently hopsitalised with dehydration due to gastroenteritis. I got the email on Thursday to let me know that it would have to be rescheduled to the 13th.  I won’t lie, I was pretty upset on the day and torn in a lot of ways because I feel bad that she is sick, but also so frustrated with all the waiting I’ve already done, only to have to wait another week.  Mr Practical (my husband) came out with his practical arsenal; “There’s nothing we can do Hon…” and “Another week isn’t going to make much difference…”  Gah!  I did calm down after a few hours, but was still in a crappy mood all day as a result.

In other news, I had my appointment with the hematologist today which went pretty well. He’s not too concerned with me using estrogen or flying considering I have Factor V Lieden, he says clexane will eliminate the problem – he seems to think my consistently low platelet counts indicate possible Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura [ITP] that’s another fantastic ailment to go with my Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase! [MTHFR] – it’s not too serious in my case and is normally managed with predisolone which I’ll be on anyway. He also said my red blood cells were a bit high so sent me off for more testing, but I’m breathing a sigh of relief that so far he’s not alarmed. There’s nothing like looking at someones business card and seeing Hematologist/Oncologist to put the fear of God into you.

So now I wait for Thursday and just pray the donor is not having second thoughts. Husband is off tomorrow on his world tour and back on the 3rd so I’m home alone and there’ll be no one to reel me back in if there’s another set back. God help us all, I might just have to blog it out.