Archive | June 2013

A new cycle begins

I started on my new course of ralovera today. I’ll take two tablets per day for seven days, then hopefully a few days later start to bleed.

Finally I feel like the wait is over!

Unfortunately the weight isn’t over, and despite my best efforts I am still 74kg. I think I have to accept that I won’t be able to lose weight while I’m on all these medications. The most important thing is that I keep eating healthily, exercising regularly and taking my prenatal vitamins. I have to understand that whilst I can’t fit into my pretty dresses, and I feel self conscious about the fact I’m carrying an extra 10kg, I’m doing this to have a child. And a child would mean so much more to me than a few extra kilos on my hips and thighs.

The metformin tablets make me feel incredibly sick, and if I can’t lose weight while I’m barfing up my lunch I don’t think I’m going to lose weight at all right now. I get terrible stomach cramps every time I take a metformin tablet. Most days I take three tablets per day, some days I can only manage two. The nausea is fairly constant and just smelling certain foods makes me rush to the bathroom now. I figure this is good preparation for the fun times I’ll have when I’m actually pregnant. 😉

I’m feeling upbeat and calm at the moment. I’m handling this cycle so much better than I handled my first cycle. Finishing university last week really helped take my mind off the wait to start, and I know what to expect going forward so I won’t have too much anticipation about the unknown.

I will  hopefully start to bleed around the 10th of July, I will get my university grades back on the 12th of July (and find out if I can graduate!) and then Doctor B is back from her leave on the 15th. There’s lots of positives to look forward to. Just gotta keep on swimming in the right direction.

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A rant about insensitivity

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned previously that I recently joined a new gym. As part of the joining fee, I was given three free sessions with a personal trainer.

I already see a personal trainer. Not one of those gym bunny trainers, the kind of trainer that has his own private studio and has a more thorough understanding of the needs of clients. I find the personal trainers at gyms are usually time poor and stressed, because they are paid on commission, and often just go through the same stock standard programs with all their clients. They’re the kind of trainers that seem to think a workout isn’t a workout unless you’ve vomited. My trainer actively avoids his clients vomiting because he understands it’s actually counterproductive to what we’re trying to do. If you vomit, you’ve wasted your whole workout. Gym bunny trainers like to shout a lot. They seem to think they’re stars on The Biggest Loser. They also don’t know what they’re talking about when they give out nutritional advice. I find the whole thing really off-putting.

Anyway, I decided to take up my new gym on the offer and booked in my first session with the only female trainer on the gym’s staff. I figured while I’m on this month’s wait in the dreaded between-cycle gulag I may as well find interesting ways to distract myself. My regular trainer is a male but also incredibly understanding of my IVF journey, given he himself is an IVF baby. He modifies all my workouts to suit my personal needs on any given day (based on where I am in my cycles and what medications I’m on) and also works regularly with Doug and my cousin Phoeobe. We’re great mates. But I chose a female trainer this time because I knew I’d have to give a spiel about IVF to explain why I’m limited in which exercise machines I can use and didn’t feel comfortable telling all that to some strange man.

My trainer introduced herself as Mandy. A tall, thin woman in her early forties. She seemed nice enough and we settled down in the gym’s “assessment room” to take my weight (still 74kg) and measurements. We then got onto my medical history and I explained I’m going through IVF.

“May I ask why?” she said, tapping her pencil on the desk.

“Sure…” I replied, unsure exactly why she needed to know but not unwilling to share. “I have severe endometriosis, adenomyosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, blocked fallopian tubes, hyperprolactinema, and I am anovulatory.”

“Oh that’s terrible!” she said. “I understand completely how you must feel. I have endemetrolosis myself.”

Endometriosis I thought, but said nothing.

“Don’t worry you’ll be fine love,” she continued cheerily. “Endometrolosis didn’t stop me from having kids. I have four!’

I smiled politely and still said nothing. I often find people say these types of things to me when they find out I’m infertile. They want to tell me some sort of uplifting story about how their friend or their friend’s sister or their friend’s sister’s hairdresser got pregnant and how I’ll be just as lucky. They don’t understand that these stories actually hurt me and rub in my face the fact I’m unable to accomplish what I was basically designed to do. Something billions of other women have managed.

“Then again, of course I have four kids,” the trainer went on. “My husband is so fertile he could get a dead stick pregnant!”

Then she started to laugh and laugh as if she’d said the funniest thing she’d ever heard. I didn’t laugh. In fact, it took everything I had not to get up and storm out of the gym. Here’s what I wanted to say to her:

First of all, it is not my husband’s fault that I can’t get pregnant. He is not in any way inferior to your husband.

Second of all, there is no possible way for you to tell whether your husband is super fertile. It does not take one to make a baby. It takes two.

Thirdly, your husband could not get me pregnant. I don’t care if he has the most fertile sperm on the planet. His junk isn’t getting to my eggs because a) my fallopian tubes are blocked and b) I don’t ovulate.

So screw you, gym trainer. Your nutritional advice was stupid and wrong, your jokes were insulting and your workout was too hard. Your aim should never be to “wipe the floor” with your clients until they can’t move anymore. That’s just bloody dangerous.

People have no idea just how hard and debilitating it is to be infertile. To understand that you may never have children. Just because I am young doesn’t mean I have a lot of time left to “sort myself out”. Just because I am going through IVF does not mean I will have children. IVF is not some magical bullet to pregnancy – it is hard, traumatic and exhausting. And only half of women who go through IVF end up having children. I am sick of people thinking they can say whatever they like to me. And I won’t be swallowing my feelings with a smile and accepting that shit anymore. I’m done.

I cancelled my other two free sessions.

Trial transfer

This morning I had my trial embryo transfer. I still firmly believe it was a big ol’ waste of time. Even worse, Doug took the morning off work to support me and it was an even bigger waste of his time. His work is so demanding and he can only get so much time off to attend appointments with me. I’d much rather he hadn’t come this morning and instead used that banked time to come to my next appointment when something worthwhile might have taken place.

So what is a mock or trial embryo transfer I hear you ask? Take it away, Mister Wikipedia:

“A mock transfer process in IVF is simply when the doctor inserts a catheter into your uterus to measure the length and depth. He does this so that when it is time to actually deposit embryos into your uterus he will know what type of catheter to use and know where to place the embryos.”

Basically it’s the exact same process as an embryo transfer, only without the embryo. Some studies conducted have suggested the pregnancy success rate is higher after a mock transfer is performed, because the doctor has a better chance of using the right catheter and correctly placing the embryo. Other studies have found a mock transfer has little to no actual effect on the outcome and other factors such as not opting to bed rest and taking the right levels of progesterone have a much greater impact on success. I recommend you do your own research and make up your own mind which side of the fence you sit on.

For my embryo transfer I needed a full bladder, because the doctor is guided by ultrasound. That means I had to drink a litre of water over half an hour and then let it sit in my bladder for 45 minutes prior to the scan.

I also had to go through the same process only a couple of weeks ago when I had my last ultrasound. Although I’m pretty much an expert at internal ultrasounds and have had probably a hundred so far this year, I don’t often have regular old external ultrasounds. This means I’m not accustomed to filling my bladder.

I was so worried I wouldn’t drink enough water prior to my diagnostic ultrasound I guzzled my litre of water in 10 minutes, drank an extra 200ml just to “make sure” and then had to let it sit in my bladder for over an hour. By the time I got to the hospital for my test I was physically in agony. I couldn’t even sit down in the waiting room and instead was pacing back and forth uncomfortably and jiggling on the spot when a nurse came over and asked me if I was ill.

“I….I…..have to get an ultrasound….” I managed to say.

“Ok,” she said with a smile. “How about you go down to the bathroom and just let out a little bit of urine. Say, to the count of five?”

“To the count of five?” I gasped. “There’s no way I would be able to stop after five seconds. I’m so full right now and I don’t have that amount of self control!”

She laughed at that and admitted she wouldn’t be able to do it either, but some ladies are just able to stop when they need to. She went down to the sonographer and asked if they could see me straight away. The lovely sonographer agreed to cut her lunch break 10 minutes short so I could be scanned immediately. People at hospitals are generally so accommodating. I don’t know why anyone complains about the level of service provided by medical professionals – particularly nurses.

So anyway, when it came to my embryo transfer today I was determined not to make the same mistake. I drank exactly 1 litre of water in exactly 30 minutes. I was in hardly any discomfort at all, even by the time I got to the hospital. My bladder certainly felt full, but I wasn’t exactly dying.

Today was the first day we’ve been to the new fertility clinic, located in a small private hospital. We’ve previously seen Doctor B in her offices on level 4 of the hospital, but the clinic was down in the bowels of the hospital on the lower ground floor. It’s certainly less flashy than our first fertility clinic, but it has a nice atmosphere. There’s also giant sperm artwork on the walls. Giant. Sperm. Artwork.

Doug and I were the only two people in the waiting room, and were due to go in for our mock transfer at 11.30am. We were giggling and playing one of those stupid candy crush type games on his iphone, when a much older couple arrived and sat down next to us. The man looked early fifties, the woman early forties. Both were greying and wore laugh lines around their eyes. They turned and gave me the usual once over. I could read the expressions clearly on their faces. Why is this silly young girl here?

For a while I ignored them, and went back to watching Doug play his game. Then I noticed her leg jiggling uncomfortably. Then both her legs. Then her whole body. Then she was standing. Dancing. Pacing back and forth. Breathing heavily. Biting her lip. She was in agony. Uh oh! Someone’s had too much water! The nurse came rushing over and I overheard that this lady was in the clinic to have her embryo transfer. There was actually going to be an embryo in her catheter. This wasn’t the ideal time to overdrink water. The nurse told her to go and let out “to the count of 5” and the lady hugged her in thanks then ran as fast as she could to the bathroom.

Minutes later she was back. She seemed much calmer. We all sat nicely in the waiting room. Then the jiggling began again. Then the pacing. Then the dancing. Then came “I’m just going to let out another 5!” and she raced off to the bathroom again. A few minutes later, the same thing happened again and she insisted she needed to go and let out another 5.

“Look,” the nurse said patiently. “You have already let out to the count of 10. You can’t let anymore out. We’ll need to rush you through immediately or there won’t be enough left in your bladder to do the procedure.”

And that’s how my mock embryo transfer got pushed back to 12pm. Because of some silly woman’s inability to properly follow instructions and drink 1 litre of bloody water I had to wait an extra half an hour with my own full bladder!! Having made the same mistake a few weeks ago I did sympathise with her, but I don’t think my poor bladder should have been punished for her mistake!

Other than that, the mock transfer went quickly and smoothly. They tested different sized instruments and catheters, and then Doctor B showed me on the ultrasound monitor how she would find the right place to drop off our embryo and leave it there to implant. It was interesting, but I still can’t see how it was worth the fuss or a day off work for me.

After it was over, Doctor B asked us how badly we wanted to have children on a scale from one to ten. Without even hesitating I blurted out “TEN!” but Doug smiled a little and answered “seven.”

I think that perfectly sums us up as a couple. Doug is always more cautious than me, more measured, less emotional. I know we both want children very badly. I know Doug feels that way because he’s told me many times. But I do understand that this has become something more for me than it is for him now. It’s an obsession for me. I can’t imagine a life without children. I refuse to live one.

Doctor B will be away overseas now until the 15th of July so I’ll be out of contact with her. There’s nothing to do now but wait until early July when we start ralovera and then injections.

Another long, cold wait…